Monthly Archives: September 2008
The ridiculous website God is Imaginary has a video entitled “10 Questions Every Intelligent Christian Must Answer.” I’ve taken the time to write a lengthy response to it here. I have jazzed it up with a summary PowerPoint Presentation.
I plan to make PowerPoint responses to all of the God is Imaginary videos in the very near future. Stay tuned!
C. Michael Patton has an excellent post on homosexuality here. I recommend reading it, especially if you struggle with this sin or know anyone that does.
Jeffery Bruce over at Christians in Context had an excellent thought on why natural disasters occur. He doubts that it is a very original thought, and it probably isn’t, but it’s something that I’ve never considered and is very valid.
Bruce points out that all of creation was cursed along with Adam and Eve. Undoubtedly, humans wouldn’t be able to tolerate the resplendent perfection of what God himself terms “very good,” and so all of creation must be made imperfect along with us. It is from this imperfection that things like natural disasters occur.
Although atheists disagree, I think that personal testimony of encounters with God are some of the most powerful pieces of evidence in favor of God’s existence. Although personal experiences are subjective, each run through the filter of one’s own previous experiences, education, and background, the foundation of the Christian religion itself is based upon personal experience.
Moses had several personal encounters with God. First, at the burning bush, then later atop Mt. Sinai. It is through these personal encounters that we got the Law. The apostle Paul had such a personal encounter with God that it changed the way he thought about Jewish Law and made him an ardent defender of the faith that he persecuted.
I remember a good friend’s grandfather telling me about his own personal encounter with God. It was at that friend’s wedding three years ago. He told me that he had died, but that God sent him back for the express purpose of telling everyone that story. And he does; that story is one of the first things he tells everyone new that he meets.
This man is rational and sane, yet he claims to have had this profound encounter with God. Are we just going to dismiss his experience as a hallucination? As the product of a broken mind? Or can we accept this story as true, as an encounter with the living God?
Personally, I favor the third option. An otherwise sane person would know the difference between a hallucination and reality. A crazy person would manifest other signs of insanity. No, I think that the third option best fits the facts as they stand. I believe that he had an encounter with the living God.
Most encounters with God aren’t so dramatic as meeting him face-to-face, as in the above examles. Most, I believe, are had through other people and circumstances in our lives. For example, my wedding was a gift from God. We planned it in less than a month, and everything came together with no fuss whatsoever. Normally, something of that magnitude would have caused numerous snags and problems, but not this time. I believe that that was an encounter with God.
I have a friend who prayed for a sign and drove past a church with a single neon sign that said “HOPE.” He passed that same church each and everyday at the same time and had never noticed the sign before. Maybe it was just a coincidence that he did this time, but I think otherwise. I think that this was an encounter with God.
My wife and I have fertility problems. I was also very sick (and thus faced considerable difficulty) during her ovulation, yet we were able to conceive our daughter on the first try. Maybe that is also a coincidence, but knowing what I know about the human body and how many things have to fall into place for conception to happen, I believe that this is also an encounter with God.
Once I remember feeling unappreciated at work. Even more than normal. An older lady happened to be the only customer around, and she told me what a great job she thought I was doing taking care of her and that she knew I would go far in this life because of my work ethic. She gave me a hug before she left. I felt energized and happy–this was exactly what I needed. This was an encounter with God.
Most encounters with God are just what I have described above–events and people that touch us in a way that we need at that moment. What about you, readers? Have you any personal stories about encounters with God? Would you like to read more personal encounters with God? Sign up for the message board Is God Imaginary and share them in this thread, or just read the stories that others have posted. Comments are disabled here to encourage your visit to the message boards.
When I read the title and the opening letter to this piece, I expected a different reaction from Dave Armstrong:
I am coming to believe that this [good works are the inevitable result of saving grace] is one of the most dangerous teachings within the Reformed tradition, because it makes sin to be of little significance. After all, if all your sins have been forgiven – Past – Present – and Future, and nothing can change that – then where is the fear of God within such a teaching? Can one fear to sin because it displeases a Holy and Righteous God if one thinks that no sin can separate them from God? Can’t this kind of belief cause one to treat God as a doormat? . . . This attitude of “its all been done for you by Christ on Calvary” and there’s nothing expected from the Christian, nothing that he can or should do to grow in righteousness and holiness, makes our lives as believers in Christ, our witness to the world as lights shining in the darkness of no consequence. If I think nothing is required of me to continue in the grace of God, I will live haphazardly and not care a hoot about living a godly, faithful life unto Christ my Lord.
I expected him to immediately agree with the writer and denounce Protestantism. However, Dave is full of surprises, as it turns out. In this case, he actually lauds Protestantism for getting something right. He makes a stronger case for the organic whole formed by good works with God’s grace than I ever could, and he makes it from Calvin’s writings. Read the entire piece here.